A South Novaran Dialogue

Palazzo Ducale
Vecitania, Lapinumbia
March 6, 2023

Tiberio Imburgia liked to consider himself one of the more rational members of the major figures that drove international relations in Novaris. Of course, his work in the LN meant that he had met some more… colorful individuals, so perhaps Tiberio thought that because he was not like them.

Lapinumbia, he supposed, had a geopolitical situation that mirrored Tiberio’s own within Novaris. Lapinumbia was a major power in its own right, though unlike Tretrid it didn’t care as much for projecting power half the world away. It was perhaps less seen in the news that its northern neighbor, but that didn’t make the Most Serene Republic any less important.

Tretrid relied on Lapinumbia perhaps more than they’d like to admit given that Lapinumbia had been their main adversary for a sizable chunk of history. Lavoa alone, sitting at the mouth of the Greatflood, could probably sway Tretridian policy. But with the significant heft of the Lapinumbian navy, as well as its territories in the waters south of Novaris, brought with it one of Tretrid’s most important strategic partnerships, as well as one with Norgsveldet that only improved after Lapinumbia joined the UCA.

Tretrid was initially skeptical of Lapinumbia joining the UCA, since relations between Tretrid and Norgsveldet had been somewhat awkward due to some of Tretrid’s activities in West Novaris. But relations between the two had improved, especially with Tretrid joining the NCEF, and Tretrid also found its interests aligning with the UCA’s as it reevaluated its policy in the wake of Correva.

Since Lapinumbia, Tretrid, and Norgsveldet found their interests aligning, they had taken to holding a yearly summit regarding geopolitical issues that affected them.

So, things in South Novaris had been going very well. There was one thing that Tiberio still wanted, though.

He was sitting in an office across from the Doge of Lapinumbia, Enrico Dandolo.

Enrico looked up from the reports that Tiberio had given him. “You want Lapinumbia to join the North Concordian Economic Federation?”

Tiberio nodded. “Tretrid and Lapinumbia’s economies are already closely tied together, especially with our open border agreement with them. Tretrid is also linked economically to Norgsveldet through their shared membership in the NCEF. Joining the NCEF will strengthen those important strategic partnerships.”

“That makes sense,” Enrico said. He paused for a moment. “What makes you suggest we should do this now instead of, say, next year, or back when Tretrid joined?”

“Well, back then it was still uncertain whether those renewed ties between Tretrid and Norgsveldet were here to stay,” Tiberio said. “It’s been long enough, I feel, to say that this arrangement is going to last at least a bit longer, so we may as well reap the benefits from it. Though, in hindsight, Lapinumbia probably should have applied to become an NCEF partner.”

Enrico nodded. “Well, that all makes sense.” He thought about the matter a while longer. “It would be best if we were to know what Tretrid’s and Norgsveldet’s stances were before we were to officially apply, so we can make sure this goes as smoothly as possible. I’ll probably informally bring the matter up in next month’s summit, but I’d strongly encourage you to try finding out what Tretrid’s stance on it would be beforehand. Otherwise, you have my leave to do as you see fit regarding bringing us into the organization.”

“Thank you.”

Enrico checked a printed agenda on his desk. “Now, the next thing you wanted to discuss is relations with the countries of West Novaris, right?”

And so the meeting continued.

Lucroza, Celanora
March 15, 2023

Æthelwine Heardsunu was a rather curious figure to Tiberio. He was one of the key architects of Tretridian foreign policy and its goals after the collapse of the Volscine Confederation, and was, as Ambassador-at-Large to Novaris, the face of Tretridian foreign policy in Novaris during Prime Minister Æthelstansunu’s first term. He’d personally been involved in the agreement that opened up the border between Tretrid and Lapinumbia.

Tiberio had worked with him when the two of them were trying to turn the League from idealistic words on a paper to an organization that could act to bring Novaris together. The two of them had stayed on the Novaran Council after the Charter was passed and came into effect, and as they set about conducting the duties of the LN.

Tiberio had a lot of respect for him. In their time working together in the Novaran Council, he thought that Æthelwine was nothing but dedicated to his duties as Tretrid’s representative to the League of Novaris and the responsibilities that involved. So, like so many others, he had been surprised when he began his second term as LN Secretary-General denouncing Tretridian foreign policy, much of which he had written himself.

His own personal rationale made sense, of course. He had been the Secretary-General and therefore had to work in the best interests of the League as an organization. He wasn’t a representative of the Tretridian government, he was the leader of the League of Novaris, and it happened that the League’s interests were conflicting with Tretrid’s.

Of course, that very cold, realist lens couldn’t explain why the choice seemed to weigh on Æthelwine significantly, but that story could fill an entire book.

Æthelwine’s office as Chair of the LN Foreign Office was quite a bit smaller than his office had been as Secretary-General, but he didn’t seem to mind. As was typical with him, it was rather minimalistically decorated, with the only personal touch being a framed picture of his family on his desk.

Æthelwine looked up from the papers that always seemed to cover his desk. “So what brings you here, Tiberio? I take it you’re not here to chat about paperwork.”

“There’s something the Lapinumbian government is considering, and I was hoping you’d have some insight into how Tretrid would perceive it.”

Though he was a critic of Tretridian foreign policy now, he also probably understood its foreign policy and diplomatic workings the best out of anyone not currently working for the Tretridian government. He’d also thus be the most likely to be honest about how Tretrid would consider it.

“What is it?”

“We’re considering joining the NCEF.”

Æthelwine thought about the matter for a moment. “Cynebury has no doubt come to accept Lapinumbia’s and Norgsveldet’s close working relationship, especially since relations between Tretrid and Norgsveldet are better than they were when Lapinumbia joined the UCA, so they won’t object on those grounds. And given that Tretrid is part of the NCEF themselves, they’d probably be very supportive of the initiative.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“I wasn’t personally a party to Tretrid’s current policies regarding the NCEF, since, of course, I was LN Secretary-General by then. I have found it interesting, however, that they seem to keep a relatively low profile within the organization itself compared to what it could do with its economic and diplomatic power. It’s no doubt to maintain goodwill with the rest of the organization in case Tretrid needs an important favor from the NCEF. But it’s possible that Lapinumbian membership can embolden Cynebury.”

“Tretrid and Lapinumbia work together on a number of issues, so they could consider Lapinumbian membership a way to extend their own influence,” Tiberio said.

“Precisely.” Æthelwine paused. “Well, the NCEF falls outside my responsibilities, so I won’t pass judgment over whether more Tretridian influence there would be good or not, but it’s definitely a pretty significant asterisk on what would otherwise be practically unequivocal Tretridian support of Lapinumbian membership. I won’t tell you how to do your job, but I think it would be helpful for the Lapinumbian government if they were to consider that as a potential factor in regards to Lapinumbian accession to the NCEF.”

“Makes sense. Wouldn’t Norgsveldet’s presence still present a limit to how much Tretrid chooses to throw its diplomatic weight around?”

“I would think so. It does appear that Tretrid joining the NCEF was mainly aimed at trying to placate Norgsveltian dissatisfaction with certain policies, so Cynebury angering the Norgsveltian government would be counterproductive.”

“Do you think that Lapinumbia’s strategic partnership with Norgsveldet might affect Tretrid’s strategic calculations, then, since Lapinumbia joining is practically guaranteed to make that partnership closer?”

Æthelwine shrugged. “I feel like Tretrid has resigned itself already to having to account for ties between Lapinumbia and Norgsveldet. I’m not too sure if it’d affect how they’re handling your country and Norgsveldet more than it already has. I doubt Tretrid sees Norgsveldet as a potential threat to its interests anymore, given that Norgsveldet is vaguely on Tretrid’s side with the whole West Novaris business.” He scrunched his nose in slight distaste with those last few words. “Which, of course, is my problem. I won’t hide my belief that that probably isn’t going to be a helpful mindset for Tretrid in the long term. The impact the Volscine Civil War had on Tretrid itself can attest to that. But as far as things that may affect you, the current state of relations between Tretrid and Norgsveldet should be somewhat helpful.”

“I figured as much,” Tiberio said. “I believe that Lapinumbia joining the NCEF should act to increase the current level of cooperation and integration within South Novaris.”

“Well, if you’re able to pull it off, which I think you definitely could, I look forward to seeing it.”